With laptops and eye-catching e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle, the upcoming Redfox Wizlib, and the undisputed crowd favorite, iPad, available for people to experience reading e-books, the ”high-tech” Vibal Foundation booth undeniably made a buzz at the 31st Manila International Book Fair. People took time to sit down and appreciate a major development in the Philippine publishing industry as Vee Press, an imprint of the Vibal Foundation and the country’s pioneer in e-book publishing, paved the way for us to witness ”the future of the book.”
Being one of the dedicated (ehem!) staff of the foundation, I was witness to the “‘ooh” and ”wow!” of many bewildered people who experienced ”flipping” through the pages of e-books for the first time. Well honestly, had I not known the process and hard work necessary for the birthing of an e-book, I surely would have been as mesmerized (if not more awed) with this new platform for holding and disseminating knowledge as anyone who had no prior idea about them.
Certainly, being part of the team that made the completion of the foundation’s first e-books possible allowed me to be more appreciative of this publishing innovation. Although I guess I will forever prefer the ”real” book over its electronic counterpart, it is mind-blowing to realize that we definitely have come a long way. With the wider distribution and less cost that e-publishing offers, Filipinos now have greater opportunities to spread and access knowledge, as these next generation books are available 24/7 on the Internet.
The tasks involved in e-book production are not at all a walk in the park, however. Producing an e-book is comprised of a number of stages, from the digitization of books or harvesting of materials from other sources to the processing of documents to be ready for conversion into an actual e-book. Editorial, creative, and technological aspects come into play and there are also necessary liaising jobs to be carried out. The production of one e-book engages a whole pool of people with specific responsibilities. For example, I’m involved in the editorial side, proofreading and processing the materials, basically preparing and converting documents to e-books.
The weeks of never-ending reading, proofreading, rereading and formatting of countless digitized manuscripts and digital versions of books, with the occasional writing of summaries and attempts at penning marketing copies, surely take their toll. Sitting all day in front of a computer trying to digest multitudes of materials from poems to classic novels to thought-provoking academic writings is, in a nutshell, exhausting. Not to mention that after a day of reading at the office, I go home to a heap of readings for graduate school.
Despite this, the pride that goes along with the idea that I am part of the pioneer e-publishing firm in the Philippines makes the workload much more manageable. To be part of a landmark project such as Vee Press is indeed a privilege as it does not only make me part of something that opens a new door to Filipino readers and authors, but it is also an opportunity to learn and grow. It indeed has its many perks, and to quote a major line in this cheesy US teeny bopper series where the characters often burst into spontaneous song and production numbers: ”being part of something special makes you special.”
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